Bishnupur Travel Guide – Terracotta Temples City
Country: India | State: West Bengal
Places to visit in West Bengal
Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
Nearest City to Bishnupur: Kolkata (136 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Bishnupur: October to March
Peak Season: November to February
Bishnupur, also known as Vishnupur, is a captivating town nestled in the Bankura district of West Bengal, India. Positioned at strategic distances of 35 km from Bankura, 50 km from Chhatna, 85 km from Kharagpur, and 136 km from Kolkata, this town boasts rich cultural heritage and is renowned as one of the prominent tourist destinations in West Bengal. The roots of Bishnupur trace back to 694 AD when King Raghunath I established the Malla dynasty. Often referred to as Mallabhum, the town served as the administrative capital under the Malla kings’ rule, who were Vaishnavites and dedicated their governance to Lord Krishna. Legends of Bipodtarini Devi are intertwined with the history of Malla Kings in Bishnupur. Bishnupur is celebrated for its exquisite terracotta temples, erected between the 17th and 18th centuries CE by the Malla kings to honor Lord Krishna. Crafted from local laterite and brick, these temples showcase intricate carvings and depict scenes from the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Notable temples include the Shyam Ray Temple, Jorbangla and Rasmancha twin shrines, Lalji Temple, Raghunathji Temple, and Madan Mohan Temples. In addition to its architectural marvels, Bishnupur is renowned for its traditional handloom saris, terracotta pottery, artifacts, and jewelry, along with the distinct Bishnupur school of painting. The town’s craftsmanship extends to handmade terracotta products like jars, disks, horses, elephants, Ganesh, and Nataraj. The Baluchari sarees, depicting Mahabharata scenes, are made of tussar silk and are highly valued.
Bishnupur Mela, a major festival held in the last week of December, is a national fair that showcases the cultural richness of the region. The festival features stalls with artworks, trinkets, sea-shell works, terracotta items, clothes, sweets, and more. Bishnupur Utsab, a classical music and dance festival, follows the Mela, celebrating the Bishnupur Gharana in music. Other festivals like the Snake festival, Durga Puja, and Diwali are celebrated with grandeur. Travelers can reach Bishnupur via Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, approximately 140 km away. Bishnupur Railway Station serves as the nearest railhead, well-connected to major cities. The town is easily accessible by bus from Kolkata, Durgapur, Bankura, and Howrah. Accommodations in Bishnupur cater to various budgets, providing tourists with a comfortable base for exploration. The best time to visit Bishnupur is from October to March when the weather is pleasant for sightseeing.
Explore the rich cultural and natural heritage of Bishnupur and Bankura with a variety of captivating attractions:
- Rasmancha (Built in 1587 AD): Discover the historical Rasmancha, a unique pyramid-esque structure constructed in 1587 AD. While not dedicated to a specific deity, it played a crucial role during the annual Ras festival, serving as the assembly point for idols from various Bishnupur temples.
- Jorebangla Temple (Built in 1655 AD): Immerse yourself in the architectural splendor of Jorebangla Temple, commissioned by Raghunath Singha II in 1655 AD. The characteristic “Chala” style roof and the twin sloped roofs with a small tower offer a visually striking experience.
- Shyam Rai Temple (Panch Chura Temple): Admire the Shyam Rai Temple, locally known as Panch Chura Temple, a prime example of the ‘Pancha-Ratna’ style. Revel in the architectural excellence of this temple, a source of pride in Bishnupur.
- Other Bishnupur and Bankura Tourist Spots:
- Experience the historical significance of Dalmadal Kaman and the imposing Gate of Old Fort.
- Pay homage at the Sarbamangala Temple and Madan Mohan Temple.
- Explore the artifacts and exhibits at the Bishnupur Museum.
- Witness the unique Maa Chinnamasta Temple and enjoy the serene surroundings of Lalgarh Eco Park.
- Gangani (Grand Canyon of Bengal): Visit Gangani, renowned as the Grand Canyon of Bengal, situated on the banks of the Silabati River in Garbeta, West Bengal. Marvel at the versatile land structures formed by the erosion of air and water, creating a picturesque landscape. Gangani is a popular local picnic spot and emerging weekend destination.
- Joypur Forest: Immerse yourself in the lush Joypur Forest, characterized by dense vegetation featuring Sal, Palash, Kusum, Mahua, Neem, and Teak trees. Experience the soothing ambiance created by the chirping of tropical birds, and encounter wildlife such as Spotted deer, Wild fox, and Elephants.
- Mukutmanipur (Second Largest Earthen Dam in India): Revel in the natural beauty of Mukutmanipur, situated at the confluence of the Kumari and Kansavati rivers. Explore the second largest earthen dam in India and visit the charming tribal village of Burraghutu, perched on a hill with a spectacular view of the Kangsabati River. Mukutmanipur is a perfect blend of scenic landscapes and cultural richness in Bankura district, West Bengal.